The Best of the Desert’s Troubadours
@ Desert Fox Bar, Palm Springs Thursday, July 11th

By Lisa Morgan

I was sitting at a CV Weekly sponsored event, waiting to watch a list of performers vie for cash and a free trip from Mix 100.5’s talent contest. Those who know me or have followed my articles in this paper at all, know that I have always been amazed at the amount of, as well as the level of, talent we have living right here in the Coachella Valley. I sat there with my soda pop, listening to some of the best up and coming musical artists I had ever seen locally. A young guy with a guitar was introduced. A wave of anxiety filled my heart for him, as I couldn’t imagine that he would be able to pull off a performance equal to the ones that preceded him. I could not have been more wrong. With all the poise of a seasoned professional, this baby faced troubadour began to sing an original song with a vocal and instrumental prowess that made my jaw literally drop. More impressive than his sheer musicality, was the passion in which he delivered his music. His audience was locked in. The room filled with total silence. When he finished, the pin-drop-silence remained momentarily as the audience had to come to their own senses. Once they did, the room thundered with excited appreciation. I had just experienced Derek Jordan Gregg.
I have seen him perform at other venues since with his band, The Vibe, with drummer, Sean Poe and bass player, Patrick Mitchem and as Derek Jordan Gregg with only his drummer in tow. This is a man who is never quite as at home as he is when he’s putting out the music that moves him to those in there to listen. There are YouTube recordings (go to and type in Derek Jordan Gregg), highlighting Derek’s incredible talent as a tune-smith, his finger picking guitar skills (he uses a unique style, never with a pick, using the guitar as percussion as he plays), and his emotional vocals that range from the top of the tenor scale to the warmest depths of baritone. But I promise you; NOTHING compares to witnessing him in a live forum. He also has a record in progress with Heil Studios that should be available winter of this year. “I hate recording,” he laughs. “When I can interact with an audience, it’s so much easier for me. I’m so much more at home, actually getting to connect with a person who, opposed to simply hearing and understanding the music and lyrics, can actually feel it.”
Although Derek is the son of well-known, local performer Mark Gregg, his musical influences and drives developed all on their own, when he grew up in Oregon. He’s always wanted to be a performer, and at the age of 15, (8 years ago) he started picking up the guitar. His inspirations came from Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, Brandon Boyd from Incubus, and Adam Duritz of Counting Crows. Smashing Pumpkin’s, Billy Corgan, inspired his song writing. “Lyrically, his songs are dark and dripping with pain. Now my range of influences is huge, from Jack Johnson to Radiohead. A large part of the new stuff I’ve been writing is folk influenced, especially by Bob Dylan.”
A dexterous guitar player and singer/songwriter, Derek has also dabbled with tenor saxophone and piano, is a decent drummer and a solid bass player. A true musician, he has fallen on the sword of dedicating his life and livelihood to music. In a world where it seems venues want to only pay musicians to cover what they feel their customers want to hear – popular music they are familiar with and already know the words to. Derek has had to make his bread and butter playing gigs adhering to this demand, but always tries to throw in some originals. “Original music is my life. I wish people would give it a couple of minutes and not just insist on hearing songs that they know the lyrics to.”
Derek has been extremely busy performing with his band all year, but the summer months are slow for everyone. “It just gives me more time to write,” he says. I personally can’t think of a better use for his down time, as his songs are masterfully written and compelling. Even with it being the slow part of the season, you can still catch Derek at Sullivan’s Steakhouse with drummer, Sean Poe, dressed to the nines, every Monday from 6-10 pm.
In downtown Palm Springs, the Desert Fox Bar is loving Derek’s full band, The Vibe. According to well-known local musician and the Desert Fox’s Bartender, James St James, “The Vibe is the next generation of up and coming acts in our desert.” It must be true, because they’re having them back, AGAIN, to play this Thursday, July 11th starting at 8 pm. This will be the perfect time to see and hear them for yourself. You will not be disappointed, and like me, you begin to look forward to seeing what lies in the future for this very talented artist.